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City is a distant second

"HARD work." That's how Solihull's Matt Beck sums up his job of putting on the best new bands in Birmingham.

"HARD work." That's how Solihull's Matt Beck sums up his job of putting on the best new bands in Birmingham.

At 23 Matt is a young man with a heavy weight on his shoulders. His day job may be working in a wine merchant, but he spends the rest of his time trying to turn around Birmingham's reputation as a "cultural blackhole".

"Some bands just won't come here," Matt despairs. Birmingham clearly has an image problem, and no amount of boasting about canals or putting pictures of Alabama on leaflets is going to change the fact live music appears to struggle in the city.

It's not a straightforward problem, you could point out the Academy in Dale End, the Glee Club in the Arcadian or the Custard Factory in Digbeth. These venues, and others, regularly entertain crowds of willing punters, eager to see an exciting act. But then, Birmingham is supposed to be the UK's second city, shouldn't it be...a little better?

It's clearly light-years behind London, and as Matt points out, even one of the most critically acclaimed, highly exciting, widely supported bands to come out of Birmingham in recent years, Johnny Foreigner had to hot foot it down to London, in order to progress to the next level.

 

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